- When: November 5, 1999
- Where: Joe’s Bar, Chicago, IL
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To the Review….
It was supposed to just be a Rick Springfield evening. I would go to his concert on Friday night, write the review, maybe listen to “Karma” (his latest CD) again, and be done with it. But the whole weekend I couldn’t get away from him. Saturday comes, I’m at Bed, Bath & Beyond, (hey, no jokes, I needed some supplies for the dude-pad) when over the speakers I hear “Prayer,” one of the songs from “Karma,” as part of the piped-in music. “Hmm, that’s a little coincidental, don’t you think?” I thought to myself. But I let it go. Then, that evening, I’m channel surfing and stumble across “Martial Law.” That’s not special, but I rarely channel surf to the local stations on a Saturday night because there’s usually nothing I like on. Then I notice something and mumble to myself “That’s Rick Springfield. He’s getting hand-cuffed to a tree!” I was beginning to have Rick Springfield overload. He was everywhere. Thank goodness Saturday was over. No more Rick Springfield! But then Sunday came. I’m watching VH-1, it’s “The List,” they’re listing best bands of the 70’s, and there he was, again, Rick Springfield. I was beginning to go out of my mind and figured I had better write this review soon because if I didn’t I might have pages and pages of Rick Springfield experiences instead of just a concert review. So let’s get to it before somehow Rick Springfield ends up on “King of the Hill.”
When I told Stu I was going to see Rick Springfield he asked where Rick was playing. I told him “Some bar called ‘Joe’s,” to which Stu replied “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.” I told him that Rick sold out three shows and little did I know about Joe’s. After getting there I realized Rick hadn’t fallen at all.
Driving to Joe’s I recalled seeing Meat Loaf in a bar. It was small, cramped, I think Meat sweat on me, and as cool as it was to see him so up close and personal it was a little sad that he was stuck playing such a small place. I was getting close to Joe’s and those same feelings came back – it would be cool to see Rick Springfield in a bar, but he should really be playing larger venues. I walked into Joe’s, it seemed kinda small, more a restaurant than a bar, but no stage. Then I noticed people walking to another room. I followed. So much for a small bar as the place opened up into a large room with people already packed around a real stage. There was no photo pit, I was stuck on a stairway near the back, and my dreams of Rick sweating on me all but disappeared. Alright, the place is no United Center, but a bouncer-dude told me they sold around 1200 tickets per night, bodies, mostly of the dudette persuasion, were packed from front to back, and Rick put on an hour and a half show that had the dudettes screaming while their boyfriend dudes tried to be too cool for Rick Springfield even though I could see them singing along.
It’s 11:30 PM, an hour and a half later than the concert was listed, Rick came out, screams reminiscent of a Backstreet Boys concert filled the air, and suddenly I’m remembering things that I figured were long forgotten, things like the words to “I’ve Done Everything for You,” like the words to “Human Touch,” like the words to “Kristina,” and, well, you get the idea. And you know what, Rick rocked. Yea, that’s right, I said “Rick rocked.” I never knew.
Opening with “His Last Words” and “It’salwayssomething” from “Karma (with one of my new favoritist lyric lines in “Down one, home run, your dog steals the ball”), Rick, dressed in leather pants that looked like they were painted on, led the crowd through sing-a-longs, destroyed dozens of roses as he used them as guitar picks, hiked a guitar to a member of his crew, used cameras as guitar slides, and played lots of songs most people knew and a few songs from his new CD that some people knew. It was all good.
Highlights, there were many, and none of them for me revolved around “Jessie’s Girl.” Even though I like the song, it’s not my favorite (“Inside Sylvia” actually tops that list), but Rick showed that he can play with the best of them doing a great surf riff into, happily for me, “Inside Sylvia,” could turn forgetting lyrics into crowd pleasing, worked a stage like a master, and even tried to fill audience requests. He did it all and looked like he was having so much fun. That’s what it’s all about.
What else can I say about Rick Springfield except that the man puts on one hell of a show. The old songs sounded as fresh as when they were new, and the new songs show that Rick still has it, although you can tell he has grown a little in their messages. He led the crowd through “Free,” his latest single (which sounds to me like it belongs in a movie, in the scene where the dude and dudette realize they love each other and wind up in bed – it’s way romantic), had dudettes screaming at him like they were teenagers and he was 25, and showed that you don’t have to get any slower with age.
Some people seemed a little grumpy that Rick started late, and I was a little grumpy too, but that grumpiness went away once he hit the stage. He impressed me with his guitar work, had dudettes screaming at him, made me remember songs I had long forgotten, and showed to me that he is still mighty, has not fallen, and just plain knows how to rock. It’s TWO “STILL MIGHTY AND NOT FALLEN” THUMBS UP for Rick Springfield.
That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!